Email marketing

How are marketers & digital agencies using PII for brands?: Chandan Bagwe

Authored by Chandan Bagwe, Founder / Director, C Com Digital

In the past few years, some significant marketing shifts have propelled businesses to rethink their approach to first-party data. The good part is that third-party cookies are disappearing and are expected to diminish entirely by the end of 2023. Add to this that consumer privacy and consent have emerged as key priorities, and brands are keen to create highly personalized experiences across different channels. In fact, more and more brands are placing weightage on enabling functions like data analytics, targeted ads, and attribution.

All of this raises an important question: how can brands identify whether a particular user is a potential business contributor or an enthusiast trying to learn the tricks of the trade? The answer lies in leveraging technology for this identification functionality, commonly termed Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Now, let us step back to understand what PII is and why it is essential.

PII: Back to the Basics

Protecting PII is important to maintain privacy and prevent identity theft or unauthorized access to personal information. In simple terms, PII stands for Personally Identifiable Information, which refers to any information that can be used to identify a particular individual. This includes names, addresses, social security numbers, and email addresses. Every organization actively records and uses PII, whether about their employees, customers, or clients. For instance, educational institutions like schools and colleges, too, store the PII of their students. And likewise, hospitals gather and access patient data regularly.

The Role of Marketers and Digital Agencies in Using PII: Is It Necessary?

Why PII is necessary for Marketing.

PII, or Personally Identifiable Information, is important for marketing because it enables businesses to target their advertising and communication efforts to individuals or groups interested in certain products or services. Businesses can create targeted marketing campaigns to improve their investment return and increase customer engagement by collecting PII, such as email addresses or phone numbers. However, obtaining PII ethically and respecting individuals’ privacy rights is essential to obtaining consent and safeguarding their data.

How can Digital Marketing companies use PII?

Digital marketing companies can use PII, or Personally Identifiable Information, in several ways, including:

1) Targeted Advertising: PII can create targeted advertising campaigns that reach a specific group of consumers interested in a particular product or service.

2) Personalization: PII can personalize marketing messages and content based on a person’s preferences and behavior, increasing engagement and conversions.

3) Customer Relationship Management: PII can manage customer relationships by tracking interactions and tailoring communication to individual customers.

4) Analytics: PII can gain insights into consumer behavior, such as what products or services they are interested in, how they engage with marketing campaigns, and what channels they prefer to use.

It is essential for digital marketing companies to obtain PII ethically, with individuals’ consent, and to safeguard their data to respect their privacy rights.

As sensitive as PII may be, online and offline companies unhesitatingly collect large amounts of data, which marketers and digital agencies then leverage to promote and sell the former’s products or services, launch a digital campaign, and optimize SEO efforts.

Consent can be offered in numerous ways, commonly by tapping on the opt-in or opt-out box when the consumer feeds in their email address or agrees to the terms and conditions after signing up. From a consumer-privacy perspective, some stringent laws regulate what companies or their agencies can do with emails or contact numbers obtained from consumers. For example, a company can only sell its database to third-party vendors if the consumers have consented to it while providing their email addresses or other information.

How to Run a PII campaign?

If you are planning to run a PII campaign, which involves collecting and using Personally Identifiable Information (PII) for marketing purposes, here are some steps you should take:

1) Clearly define your campaign objectives: Determine what you hope to achieve through your PII campaign, such as increasing conversions or driving traffic to your website.

2) Identify your target audience: Determine which audience segments you want to reach and what PII you need to collect from them to achieve your campaign goals.

3) Obtain consent: Ensure that you have obtained the necessary consent from individuals to collect and use their PII in your marketing campaigns. This may involve obtaining consent through opt-in forms, privacy policies, or other mechanisms.

4) Use secure data collection methods: Use secure data collection methods to protect individuals’ PII from unauthorized access, theft, or misuse.

5) Personalize marketing messages: Use the PII you have collected to create personalized marketing messages and content that resonate with your target audience.

6) Monitor and analyze results: Monitor your PII campaign’s performance, use analytics to track progress towards your goals, and make adjustments as needed.

7) Respect individuals’ privacy rights: Always respect individuals’ privacy rights and safeguard their PII to maintain trust and confidence in your brand.

Which digital platforms are best to run PII campaigns

The best digital platforms to run PII campaigns depend on your objectives, target audience, and budget. Here are some popular digital platforms that offer opportunities for PII campaigns:

1) Social Media Platforms: Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram offer powerful advertising tools that allow you to target specific groups based on their interests, demographics, and behaviors.

2) Search Engines: Search engines like Google and Bing allow you to run pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns that target specific keywords and audiences, enabling you to capture high-intent traffic and convert them into leads.

3) Email Marketing Platforms: Email marketing platforms like Mailchimp, Constant Contact, and HubSpot allow you to send personalized messages to your email list and track engagement, optimizing your campaigns over time.

4) Programmatic Advertising Platforms: These platforms, like Google Display Network and OpenX, allow you to display ads that target specific audiences and can be optimized in real-time based on performance.

PII campaigns, which involve collecting and using Personally Identifiable Information for marketing purposes, should be used in the later stages of digital marketing when the audience is already engaged and has shown some interest in your products or services.

For example, PII campaigns can re-target individuals who have visited your website but have not converted into customers by displaying personalized ads on social media or search engines. PII campaigns can also be used to nurture leads in the middle of the funnel by sending personalized emails or offers to those who have provided their contact information or interacted with your brand in some way.


In conclusion, Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is any information that enables us to identify a particular individual. It is important for digital marketing as it enables businesses to target their advertising and communication efforts to specific individuals or groups. Digital marketing companies can use PII in various ways, including targeted advertising, personalization, customer relationship management, and analytics. To run a successful PII campaign, businesses must obtain consent ethically, use secure data collection methods, personalize marketing messages, monitor and analyze results, and respect individuals’ privacy rights. Some popular digital platforms for running PII campaigns include social media platforms, search engines, email marketing platforms, and programmatic advertising platforms. It’s essential to follow the best data privacy and security practices and measure and analyze campaign performance regularly to achieve desired outcomes.

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